The Illinois Cuba Working Group is optimistic about the prospects for Illinois commodities getting into Cuba, as relations continue to thaw between that country and the U.S.
Adam Nielsen of the Illinois Farm Bureau says a contingent which visited Cuba three years ago brought back positive feedback: “They told us they liked wheat from the Great Plains and they like rice from the American South, and they like our corn and soybeans.”
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Nielsen says it's about a $1-2 billion market; not huge, by these standards, but only 90 miles from American shores.
Nielsen says some trade is permitted on humanitarian grounds, but Cuba finds the U.S.-imposed restrictions not worth the bother and turns to Vietnam and France for commodities.
The latest announcement in the normalization process is the opening of embassies in Havana and Washington.